Written By: Fahim Faruque, Third-Year Student Pharmacist
Earlier this year, I had the privilege of working with a diligent team to implement a grassroots initiative that created a platform for students across the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) to engage in interprofessional activities focused on entrepreneurship. This initiative led to the formation of the Entrepreneurship and Innovation Network (EIN).
EIN aims to assemble entrepreneurial-minded UMB students to create an ecosystem for innovation through interprofessional collaboration. The organization also strives to embed the talent present within the UMB student body into the larger Baltimore area and biohealth capital region entrepreneurial landscape. Our mission is to educate students about the process of turning innovative ideas into companies by providing the resources and hands-on experiences needed to become successful entrepreneurs through partnerships, networking, knowledge sharing, and inspiration.
Our Leadership Team
EIN’s initial leadership team consisted of an interprofessional group of UMB students:
- Fahim Faruque (Me): A student pharmacist
- Alex Meltzer: A doctoral (PhD) student
- Ioan Lina: A medical student
- Ben Portney: A doctoral (PhD) student
Recently, we launched an Ambassadors Program to help kick off another grassroots movement to engage all of the schools at UMB in our upcoming activities. Travis Clement, a second-year student pharmacist and current ambassador for the School of Pharmacy, plays a critical role in educating pharmacy students about entrepreneurial opportunities offered through our organization. We believe the presence of our entrepreneurship ambassadors in each UMB school will promote an environment for innovation, as the ambassador will act as an accessible liaison for resources.
My Personal Journey
I first realized my interest in entrepreneurship after researching the discipline to apply for the UMB President’s Entrepreneurial Fellowship in Fall 2015. Although I was not selected for the fellowship, the application process served as a catalyst, motivating me to connect with a team of like-minded individuals who wanted to initiate social change in the professional culture at UMB. We wanted to help foster an environment that encourages innovation and supports and nurtures aspiring innovators. We also wanted to create a space for interprofessional collaboration, as well as expand access to entrepreneurial opportunities to all UMB students.
Establishing EIN opened my eyes to the joy of designing, strategizing, and operationalizing concepts that carry personal significance and fulfilled my goal to become an advocate for fostering indiscriminate access to entrepreneurial opportunities. The thrill of being a part of the “growth” of something that I initiated is indescribable, and the process has been invaluable in my professional development. In addition, learning about entrepreneurship concepts and skills through EIN’s “From Idea to Start Up” workshop series helped me tremendously in my leadership roles at the School. I have been able to develop valuable initiatives and programs to aid the professional growth of my peers using the knowledge and skills that I have gained. For instance, I applied some of the lessons that I learned to my role as vice president of the School’s Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy (AMCP) student chapter to establish the AMCP and Career Navigation Internship Prep Series — a program that prepares students to research, apply, and obtain summer internships.
EIN offers a number of opportunities in which members can participate. We regularly host the “From Idea to Start Up” workshop series, which covers topics related to design thinking, customer discovery, intellectual property, market research, regulatory considerations, and business financials. We also help facilitate real world experiences for our members, including assisting with the development of teams to participate in entrepreneurship competitions and engaging in projects with start-ups across the greater Baltimore area. Networking opportunities are also regularly provided for members.
Below are just a few additional ways for UMB students to get involved with our group.
- Entrepreneurship Ambassador
First-Year Student Pharmacists Only
Applications Currently Open
- Customer Discovery Workshop
Nov. 1, 2016
5 – 7 p.m.
Hosick Hall, Bressler Research BuildingCustomer discovery is the process of identifying your customer or stakeholder’s needs when designing a product. During this workshop, a specific focus will be placed on “pivoting” based on feedback from your potential end users. This workshop will be presented by Jennifer Hammaker, director of the Maryland Innovation Initiative. Food will be provided. Please RSVP to attend.
- LightBulb Moment Competition
Submission Deadline: Oct. 31, 2016
11:59 p.m.The School of Medicine’s Office of Student Affairs is inviting entries that represent the most innovative new ideas in the medical field. The winner(s) of The Lightbulb Moment Competition will receive recognition and compete for a prize to support the development and commercialization of an important new product, technology, or concept. If you are looking for team members or would like to join a team, please review EIN’s sign-up sheet.
- 1st Pitch Life Science
Oct. 26, 2016
5:30 – 8:30 p.m.
701 East Pratt Street
Baltimore, MD 21202Are you interested in learning how investor pitches work? How about helping boost the start-up community by showing outside investors what great ideas UMB students, faculty, and staff have? 1st Pitch Life Science offers presenters and audience members the chance to hear what happens behind those closed doors after an investor pitch. It is a great opportunity for EIN members to meet investors, talk about their ideas, and enjoy free food. Please RSVP to attend.
I believe that, as students at one of the top pharmacy schools in the nation, we need to think like innovators, identify ourselves as innovators, and build the confidence to implement innovation. I strongly encourage students at SOP and across UMB to seek knowledge that will help them become the future innovators of their professions. EIN provides many great opportunities to get started. Our growing network of professionals exists to support students who will take initiative to become innovators.